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One Year Later: Two Proud Romans, Two Tearful Goodbyes

A year ago today, Roma fans bid a tearful goodbye to Daniele De Rossi and Claudio Ranieri.

AS Roma v Parma Calcio - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

It's hard to get a fanbase as expansive and diverse as Roma's to agree on much of anything, but I feel safe in saying that none of us were happy with the way Daniele De Rossi's Roma career came to end. We may have differed in the extremes of our reactions, but watching De Rossi's twenty-year run with club end in tears was enough to break even the hardest of hearts.

And I suppose it's somewhat fitting that the one-year anniversary of De Rossi's “retirement” coincides with SB Nation's latest theme week: Sports Moments That Made You Cry. I wish there were a string of losses in Cup finals we could collectively weep over, but that's not how Roma works; she doesn't simply disappoint, she cuts you to the core.

Watching De Rossi's twenty-year career end like that—after 18 solid appearances that season and a perfectly reasonable pay-for-play deal offered to the club—was gut wrenching. For the second time in two years, Roma shoved a club icon out the door like so much trash to the curb.

It was a sad ending to a storied career, and given the rain that soaked the pitch that night, it was almost like the city itself was crying.

And much like Francesco Totti before him, De Rossi, with his family in hand, made the long, tearful march around the Olimpico.

In the buildup to this match, we tried to tackle the sense of emptiness many fans will feel in the wake of yet another forced exit:

how many of us love this club purely because of them [Totti and De Rossi]? Can a club really be special or different when it casts aside the very things that made it special?

And it’s that question that lingers, it’s that question—in their absence—that leaves you feeling empty, so if you’ll allow me to paraphrase myself once more...

How do you process that? How do you accept that? How do you move on? These are questions we’ll have to learn to deal with, for while we’ll always love Roma, that love may never feel quite the same without De Rossi—not until we find another flag to rally around.

In the meantime, we’re left to confront this emptiness. A void which seems like it could envelop an entire city, and while you know he’ll never come back, his presence will never fade. De Rossi’s aura will always paint the past, present and future of this club because he is, like or not, the embodiment of everything that makes Roma special, the embodiment of everything that made you love Roma in the first place.

And that can’t be dismissed, ignored or forgotten.

A year on and I’m not sure how to answer any of those questions, but De Rossi donning a disguise to take in a match at the Olimpico and the prospect of his return as a coach has lifted the clouds of a year ago.

But May 26, 2019 was a doubly tough day for Roma fans:

AS Roma v Parma Calcio - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

After accepting a nearly impossible task—rescuing Roma's season with only 12 matches remaining—Claudio Ranieri, who's as Roma as they come, saw his time with his hometown club come to an equally sad ending. I'm not sure there are many managers in the game who would have accepted a “Champions League” or bust mantra with only two and a half months left and six teams to fend off, but as Ranieri himself said “When Roma call you, it's impossible to say no.” Ranieri wasn't the most successful coach in club history, but his loyalty to the club is unquestioned.

Despite Roma's lack of trophies, we're pretty lucky to follow this club, but when it comes to the moments that make you cry, they don't hold back.